While both teams are just beginning to gear up for their respective regular seasons, the game clearly meant something, particularly for Barca. The Spanish squad, which features Ricky Rubio, Juan Carlos Navarro and Fran Vasquez, came back in the fourth quarter to secure a 92-88 win.
The star for Barcelona wasn't any of the above-mentioned names, though. It was Pete Mickeal, a former Cincinnati Bearcat with zero NBA appearances. Mickeal had a game-high 26 points, a team-high 13 rebounds and a game-high 7 assists.
And he's not letting the Lakers forget about it.
On his HoopsHype.com blog, Mickeal lays out why -- contrary to what Lakers coach Phil Jackson thinks -- he believes Barcelona could compete with the NBA teams over an 82-game schedule.
Kobe, obviously, has respect for FC Barcelona because he competed against us for 25 minutes. He didn't played team basketball, or passing the ball, he was playing too much one-on-one. Here it's kind of a different game. The NBA is a great, great League. But here in Europe there is good basketball too.Mickeal also had some business for Ron Artest, who reportedly said "Pete who?" when asked pre-game how he'd defend Mickeal. But that business was left on the court, where this happened just minutes into the game.
We had a little conversation on the court that went like this ...
Kobe said to me "Hey, this game might get you in the NBA," trying to be a smartass. "If you think that, then put your money where your mouth is," I replied. "I put my $10 million against your $100 million."
This may have been an exhibition for the Lakers, but Mickeal, at least, was gunned up for the game.
As to whether Barca could put away the Lakers when it matters: We may have an answer in a couple years. FIBA is trying to get Euroleague and the NBA to participate in its new World Club Championship, similar to soccer's FIFA Club World Cup, Champions League and roughly 700 other club tournaments.